When the temperature goes up moods can go down, especially with babies. Trying to keep your little one cool on a hot day is a little tricky. Even when you stay indoors if the temperature is high outside, your baby might be feeling the effects. Running your AC too high can dry the air, and give your sensitive little ones a chill (not to mention being hard on the environment). And since we sometimes have to get out of the house on a hot day, it is important to keep in mind that many Pediatricians do not recommend sunscreen for the first few months. This means you are faced with the task of keeping your baby both covered and cool. Besides the obvious, like an awning on your stroller, a fan in the babies room and a hat while outdoors, here are a few lesser-known tips for keeping your baby from over-heating.
1. Use a misting spray bottle to keep your babies cotton cap slightly damp.
While you don't want to soak your baby, a light misting over clothes and cap can provide just enough of a temperature reduction to keep you both happy. Cotton is the best material for this because it is less likely to shrink, and it breathes enough to allow for quicker evaporation. Keep an eye on the breeze, because if it picks up, the chill factor will as well. If your baby cools too quickly it can be just as uncomfortable as the heat, so keep the mist light and don't refresh it until the last misting is completely dry.
2. Refrigerate pacifiers which still have a little water left in them from being sanitized.
You know how after bringing your babies pacifiers to a boil on the stove-top they are filled with water? That water is sterile, and can do a great job of helping to keep your baby cool when it is left inside the pacifier and allowed to cool in the refrigerator. Don't worry if a little seeps out and runs down onto your babies clothes, that can also help with the heat.
3. Wrap a couple refrigerated cooling packs in wash cloths and tuck them into the lining of your babies car seat.
Refrigerated cooling packs that are insulated from direct contact with your babies skin can cool the quilted padding of car seats, strollers, play mats and even bassinets. Do not freeze the cooling packs, because you do not want to risk cooling your baby too much, or having your baby's skin come into contact with a frozen cooling pack. If you would like to try a more ecological choice, a refrigerated cotton sack filled with wheat or lentils works just as well (make certain that the sack is securely closed).
4. Let your baby nap in a swing, rather than in the crib.
Though I don't normally recommend napping-in-motion, during a real hot spell it can make your baby much more comfortable, especially if combined with my other tips. Napping-in-motion (when over-used) creates sleep associations that are hard to break, and that can lead to many sleep problems later on. However, on hot days the discomfort a baby can experience from laying in a warm crib with hot air circulating can out weigh the importance of keeping your babies sleep patterns consistent.
5. Take a tepid bath together.
Bathing with your baby is a great relaxing way to cool off on those hot summer days. Even giving your infant their own bath, either getting completely wet, or just a sponge bath can help relieve the heat. Try this tip just after arriving home from a hot afternoon out. Also, a baby safe water-based moisturizer (like Avalon Organics Baby Lotion) after the bath will help your baby stay cool longer.
Trick: Roll up and freeze several wet baby wash-cloths in a sterile freezer-safe container. Take a couple with you if you head out on a walk, and by the time you and your baby are hot, they will just be thawed enough to give your baby a nice cool face-wipe. You can also let your baby suck or chew on one, which can be quite soothing in the heat, especially if they are teething.
Bonus Trick: If you bottle feed your baby part, or full time, try offering them a room-temperature, or slightly cooler feeding. If they accept it, you can do this more often as days get hotter.